Finance Minister supports Mapisa-Nqakula on Gupta bizjet charter


Another Cabinet voice has been added to that of the Defence Minister in justifying the charter of a Gupta-associated aircraft for a visit to Japan by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa.

In August Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula told a hastily assembled media briefing at AFB Waterkloof all the necessary prescripts were followed for chartering an aircraft for Ramaphosa to use on an official visit to Japan.

The aircraft used for the charter was sourced from Lanseria-based Execujet, an authorised contractor to government in terms of the RT-61 contract approved by the National Treasury. This saw a Bombardier Global Express 600, owned by a company associated with the Gupta family, used to transport the Deputy President and his entourage to and from Japan.

In a written reply to a Parliamentary question posed by EFF MP Floyd Shivambu, Finance Minister Nhlanhla Nene supported what his Cabinet colleague said.

He explained the process of tendering and bid evaluation to become a preferred supplier as specified in the RT-61 contract and how the long range bizjet was chosen.

Nene indicated that when the appointed supplier, in this instance the SA Air Force, cannot render the required service, it can be procured from outside suppliers if they are approved in terms of RT-61.

In the case of Ramaphosa’s visit to Japan, the SAAF first approached Fortune Air as the RT-61 first ranked supplier.
“Fortune Air could not provide an aircraft meeting the requirements for the flight. To ensure value for money, SAAF requested other quotes outside contract RT-61. These quotes were more expensive than the rates offered by Execujet on contract Rt-61. SAAF therefore decided to use Execujet,”
the Finance Minister’s reply read.

The South African Air Force’s 21 Squadron operates a fleet of VIP/VVIP aircraft, including a Boeing BBJ, a Falcon 900 and two Falcon 50s. Normally president Jacob Zuma flies on the BBJ (ZS-RSA ‘Inkwazi’) and the deputy president and senior cabinet ministers will fly on board the Falcon 900 and other aircraft if the routes are suitable. Aircraft are chartered when the 21 Squadron aircraft are unavailable or when those that are available are unsuitable.